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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Who will succeed Hamas leader Salah Al Arouri? 

Filed under: Hamas, Operation Swords of Iron

Who will succeed Hamas leader Salah Al Arouri? 
Zaher al-Jabarin, Hamas “CEO”

The successor to Saleh al-Arouri in Hamas is likely to be Zaher Al-Jabarin, according to estimates within the movement.

Born in the village of Salfit in Samaria and released in the “Shalit deal” in 2011, Al-Jabarin has a history of involvement in terrorism and has served as the deputy to Al-Arouri.

He is also the financial manager of Hamas’s economic empire, controlling funds and managing ties with Iran.

Al-Jabarin, 55 years old, studied Islamic law at Al-Najah University in Nablus.

He joined Hamas in 1987, played a role in its military wing’s founding, and has been associated with various attacks, including the planning of kidnappings and murders of Israelis.

He was arrested in 1993, sentenced to life imprisonment plus 35 years, and released in the Shalit deal.

A meeting of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas leadership
A meeting of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas leadership in August 2022. In the center, wearing a blue shirt is PIJ’s Ziad Nakhalah. In the dark shirt is Hamas’s Salah al-Arouri. Second from the right is Zaher Jabarin. (Al Manar)

Known as the financial brain of Hamas, al-Jabarin oversees its economic empire, estimated to hold as much as half a billion dollars, and facilitates the transfer of funds from Iran to the Gaza Strip, managing to do so despite sanctions on Iran.

The Wall Street Journal reported on January 4, 2024, that he operates an office in Istanbul and has holdings in Turkish companies.

The appointment of Al-Jabarin as the successor is seen as a significant promotion, given his close ties to President Erdogan in Turkey.

The Wall Street Journal report suggests his involvement in Turkish businesses.

This appointment might lead to increased tensions in the region, with potential revenge attacks from Judea and Samaria for the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri. Consequently, Al-Jabarin has become a leading candidate on the Israeli Mossad’s list of potential targets.